Cooper Tires Case Study

Cooper Peaks - An integrated performance recognition strategy.

Client Background


Cooper Tire & Rubber Company is a global company that specializes in the design, manufacture, marketing and sales of passenger car and light truck tires and subsidiaries that specialize in medium truck, motorcycle and racing tires. With headquarters in Findlay, Ohio, Cooper Tire has manufacturing, sales, distribution, technical and design facilities within its family of companies located in 10 countries around the world.

Cooper believes in the power of people and that people respond to recognition and trust, the freedom to participate, the opportunity to learn, and the chance to develop personally and professionally.


Cooper Tire & Rubber Company is a leading manufacturer of replacement tires and original equipment automotive components. The company is the fourth largest tire manufacturer in North America and is the eighth largest tire company in the world. It focuses on the sale of passenger and light truck replacement tires. It also manufactures radial medium truck tires and materials and equipment for the truck tire retread industry.


Cooper was looking for guidance from a strategic partner on the following:

  • Develop a strategy to elevate its safety culture, increase safety awareness, and reduce injury related costs
  • Reinstate recognition for loyalty and service throughout the organization, which had been absent for years
  • Recognize and reward individuals who have displayed “Above & Beyond” behaviors and communicate their stories throughout the organization.

Incentive Services Solution:

Program Design:

  • The I.S. Team met with Cooper Leadership to first understand their objectives. Cooper reiterated the importance of designing a program that was strategically aligned with “The Cooper Way”.
  • “The Cooper Way” is based on Cooper’s core values; that engaged people, relentless improvement, and excellence in all that they do will lead to:
    • Helping Each Other Succeed
    • Doing the Right Thing
    • Be Results Focused
    • Having Engaged Communication • Being Agile
    • Providing World Class Customer Service
  • I.S. then proposed a plan to address each of these objectives through an umbrella program using an enhanced technology platform. Cooper themed the program “PEAKS” with a focus on Cooper’s:
People, Engagement, Achievement, Knowledge, and Success
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  • The PEAKS Program is supported by a rewards system offering better impact, visibility, and greater ROI to Cooper. The program provides Cooper with a way to recognize team members for:
    • Supporting a safe work environment
    • Their service/loyalty to Cooper
    • The attainment of Cooper’s strategic values
    • Carrying out “The Cooper Way”
    • Demonstrating “Above & Beyond” behaviors
  • Specific program elements include:
    • Recognize and reward safety activity at their Tire Manufacturing Plants based on Man Hours Worked Without a Lost Time Incident, DART Rates, Worker’s Comp Rates, and Year-Over-Year improvements. I.S. consulted with the Cooper Safety Team to determine the appropriate award payouts using past performance history as a reference.
    • Revamp and recognize loyalty and service within Cooper. Cooper previously had a Traditional Service Award program where team members were recognized with a single symbolic award. With the PEAKS program, Cooper employees are awarded points on the day of their anniversary (based on their highlight year anniversaries). The new program provides individuals with a choice of whether to bank or redeem their points from thousands of available award options. Personalized service certificates were also created and sent out to plant managers for distribution to their employees.
    • Provide management an easy way to reward and recognize “Above & Beyond” behaviors consistent with the “Cooper Way”. Nominations can be sent electronically by managers directly through the PEAKS site or managers can distribute nomination cards where recipients sign into the site using a 16-digit code on the card and automatically become eligible for a monthly drawing. Each month, the Cooper Leadership Team reviews all nominations and randomly selects winners who are awarded PEAKS points.


  • To effectively communicate the program, Incentive Services worked with Cooper to design a PEAKS Program folder with cut sheets. Each sheet covered a specific aspect of the program.
  • Cooper’s CEO participated in an introduction video where he provided an overview of the PEAKS program and its importance to Cooper.
  • Personalized Service Award Certificates were produced for managers to present on the day of an employee’s highlight year service anniversary.
  • Nomination Cards were produced for managers to distribute to employees demonstrating general “Above & Beyond” behaviors in their normal jobs. In addition, specific cards were developed for people going “Above & Beyond” in safety.
  • Incentive Services partnered with Cooper’s Marketing Department to develop stories on service anniversaries, above & beyond behaviors, plant safety milestone, etc. These stories were posted to the on-line Cooper Newsletter as well as on the PEAKS Program website.


  • The process for data management is set up to allow Cooper to submit point information to Incentive Services. Through this process, points are deposited into associates’ point accounts as their plant achieves specific safety milestones, on the day of a highlight year service anniversary, or if an employee has been selected as a monthly “Above & Beyond” drawings winner.
  • Monthly, Cooper’s IT Department provides I.S. with a data refresh file of new associates and terminated users.
  • The program website was developed featuring a unique account for each program participant, a link to the program introduction video, customized graphics that carry the program theme, a detailed description of program rules, and a complete online award catalog featuring various merchandise awards, travel packages, apparel items, and more.
  • The site allows two forms of On-The-Spot recognition:
    • Managers can go directly on-line and submit a nomination. The manager must select the core value they are recognizing the employee for and include a specific reason as to why they are recognizing this individual. The employee will then get an email notification of the nomination.
    • Managers can distribute PEAKS cards with 16-digit codes that employees can go in and enter themselves into the monthly drawing. When they do this, they must type into the site the nominating manager, the core value they are being recognized for, and the specific reason for the nomination. All of this information is written on the card by the nominating manager.


  • Prior to the program, only one of their tire manufacturing plants had ever achieved 500,000 Man Hours without a Lost Time Incident. Since running the program, all of their plants have achieved this goal. In addition, one plant has achieved a safety milestone of 1,500,000 hours.
  • When comparing safety metrics to the prior year:
    • DART has been reduced by 30%
    • Lost Time Injuries have decreased by 36%
    • Recordable Injuries have decreased by 18%
  • Cooper realized $1.1 Million in Cost Savings related to recordable injuries in the first year of the program, and has realized a Safety ROI of over 2 to 1
  • An average of 2,000 Individuals have been Recognized with Service Anniversaries on an annual basis.
  • There have been an average of over 16,000 total recognitions awarded annually (Includes Safety, Service, and Spot)
  • Cooper continues to work on building a high performance culture that values “Above & Beyond” practices and recognizes associates & managers driving the change.